There can’t be many things you didn’t know about pregnancy, right? We’ve all seen it on TV. Someone gets that "odd" feeling, pees on a stick, feels scared/stressed/happy/shocked, and then the morning sickness starts. Add in the boob growth, huge bumps, scan excitement and that labor always starts in the middle of the night, causing your husband to completely freak out, and the whole thing is almost scripted, right?! Er – it appears not. Here are the top 8 things you didn’t know about pregnancy…
1. It’s Sexy – or Isn’t It?!
A recent study on things you didn’t know about pregnancy found that women who had just given birth were unprepared for the libido changes that occur during pregnancy. One minute you feel amazing, with full, glossy hair, big boobs and that amazing pregnancy glow – and the next you feel shattered, and utterly odd. And that’s before you start wondering if sex during pregnancy is a little weird – that adorable baby is far too innocent, surely?! It’s all totally normal – but totally unexpected, too.
2. Baby Names Suck
Okay, so that might seem a little harsh. But life was so much easier when you chose baby names at 12! When you are choosing for real, there is so much to consider. Do you want a modern name, or something more traditional? What goes well with your surname? What names have cousins/sisters/nieces already used? Do your dream initials spell a rude word?! And that’s before you start looking into the meaning of names, or your husband reveals he hates the name you’ve set your heart on. Arrrggghhh!
3. The First Trimester is Scariest
Ask a bunch of childless women when the scariest month of pregnancy is, and they’ll tell you month 9, no question. But it’s actually the first three months that are the most stressful. Morning sickness tends to be worst during this period, which makes life seem a little rubbish, and the higher possibility of miscarriage during those early months can play on your mind too. Everyone wants to hit that 12 week safety time, when you can share your news! Then there are all the tough decisions you have to make. Most genetic testing takes place early, and with all the odds and risks, it can feel crazy. Luckily, after the third month, everything settles down and you can love being pregnant once more.
4. You Are Already a Mom
Months before your baby actually arrives, you’ll be acting like a proper mom. Not only will you start to buckle yourself in and live a little more safely (those protective instincts kick in early!) but you’ll be telling everyone else to do the same, too. You’ll bond with other moms who are dealing with maneuvering a pushchair round a restaurant, or battling a screaming baby in a shop, and you’ll melt a little when you feel every kick.
5. The Pain Starts Early
At a baby group last week, I met a woman utterly convinced that something was going wrong. She was totally hysterical, and wouldn’t believe that her aches and pains were normal. In TV-world, pains start at the 9th month exactly, and last an hour or two before a gorgeous baby is born. Here in the real world, your body starts changing early. Aches, pains, sciatica, abdominal pains, ligament pain and struggling walking are all common, as the uterus swells from apple-sized to WOAH-watermelon-sized. Luckily, there are things that can help, so consult your doctor ASAP.
6. Your Baby Becomes Your Life
At the start, you won’t want to tell anyone apart from your other half. It’s an exciting secret, and a new journey you are starting together. It’s amazing and scary and absolutely a secret. Then you tell everyone – and it’s all you will talk about. People will ask about the baby before they ask about you, they’ll want to know every name you’ve considered, what gender you want, how you’ve prepared. And when your bump is big enough, strangers will join in too. While it can be great, and some people love to talk baby all the time, plan some time when you can ignore your changing body if you want!
7. You’ll Become OBSESSED with Your Body
Can you imagine writing down the last time you went to the bathroom? Constipation can be a big problem in pregnancy, and hemorrhoids are common too. You’ll also find yourself noting down exactly when your baby kicks, and poking yourself/jumping around/downing Lucozade if baby is ever unexpectedly quiet. And having a complete meltdown when you realize that you’ve eaten something on the banned food lists. Even nightmares are more common in pregnancy. So everyone knew that their body would change, but nobody talks about these changes – and they can be just as crazy as the huge baby bump that’s appearing.
8. You’ll Hulk out at Least Once
Have you seen that scene in Knocked Up, where Seth Rogan and Katherine Heigl argue before a scan? I crease up when Seth shouts about how crazy Katherine’s hormones are – and he’s right. Pregnancy is like PMT, but crazier. I don’t know any pregnant woman who hasn’t had serious mood swings, tears, and breakdowns when the shop runs out of milk/you’ve lost your car keys/you’ve just made the best pie ever. And that’s not to mention the Hulk-worthy rages.
Pregnancy is amazing, and everyone looks back with a smile. But when it’s happening, it can be scary, and feel completely wrong. I mean, nobody ever reveals that they couldn’t go to the toilet, or that they hulk-smashed the sofa when told that Tree isn’t a great name. But until we can all have that perfect TV pregnancy, rest assured that all of these are completely normal. Can you think of any other things you didn’t know about pregnancy? I’d love to hear them!